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Unsolved Burton murder still remains a mystery

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 22, 2014

  • Newton Road death - body found on island in river trent..

  • Newton Rd site where a body found in a grave in 1971

  • Newton Rd site where a body found in a grave in 1971

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A RENEWED bid has been made to help solve Burton’s most notorious unsolved murder – after the original story sparked huge interest when featured in Mail Remembers.

The discovery of a partially buried body on an island in the River Trent, off Newton Road, Winshill, made the front page of the Mail in 1971 – sending shockwaves through the town.

Despite a major police investigation at the time, detectives never succeeded in uncovering the man’s identity or catching his killer.

The case shot back into the limelight on its 35th anniversary as part of a special Crimewatch programme in which the public was asked to help.

The move again drew a blank but now, after the story was published as part of the Mail’s bygones supplement, a fresh appeal for people with information to come forward has been made.

David Nathan, who found the body while going out for an evening shoot on March 27, 1971, said: “Unfortunately, I remember the day very vividly. I couldn’t believe it — I was going out shooting.

“What I found was like what a dog had unearthed — what looked like an old bag of cement. I went back and got a spade and found the body.”

The victim was naked apart from a pair of mustard coloured socks and a gold wedding ring, and was thought to have been dead for up to 15 months.

The body was in a kneeling position and had his hands and ankles tied behind this back.

The decomposing cadaver had attracted the attention of wild animals, which had begun to dig away at the grave, exposing the skull.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “We don’t usually have unsolved mysteries around for this length of time.

“There was a big inquiry at the time, but the person was never identified. Our priority has always been to identify this man whose death has remained a mystery for more than four decades. There could be someone — in Burton or anywhere in the UK — who had a husband, son or brother go missing in 1969 or 1970, who they’ve never traced.

“If you know somebody who looked like this, we urge you to get in touch. It is very rare for an unexplained death to remain unsolved in Staffordshire.”

Anyone with information can call Staffordshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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